Doran takes one-stroke lead into final rounds of East of Ireland Amateur Open

County Louth player takes advantage of an early tee time, and adds a one-under 71 to his opening 70 to lead on three-under par

County Louth’s Adam Doran: “I have led a few scratch cups after the first round and won all of them, so maybe I am okay at the front”

County Louth’s Adam Doran: “I have led a few scratch cups after the first round and won all of them, so maybe I am okay at the front”

 

County Louth’s Adam Doran will be bidding to become the first home winner for 35 years when he takes a one-stroke lead into the final two rounds of the East of Ireland Amateur Open at Baltray on Monday.

The 26-year-old teacher took advantage of an early tee time, and added a one-under 71 to his opening 70 to lead on three-under par from Royal Dublin’s Sean Ryan, Palmerstown House Estate’s Ross McCormack and Portmarnock Links’ Eugene Smith, with the entire field covered by just seven strokes.

A two-club wind was blowing when left-hander Doran, who only joined the club from Ardee at the start of 2018, took to the links and made three birdies in his first 10 holes. Bogeys followed at the 11th and 13th, with five grinding pars to finish, for Doran to post the only sub-par score of the day.

But the wind gusted to 40mph in the afternoon, with the overnight leader, Malone’s Matthew McClean, following his opening 66 with a 80 to finish the day on two-over par.

The 1995 win for Declan Branigan is the nearest a local has come to victory in the East since County Louth’s Finbarr Ronan won by eight strokes in 1985. And while Doran admits he is entering uncharted territory, he believes he has the experience around Baltray to lead from the front and challenge for what would be a dream victory.

Ready to go

“While I don’t have huge expectations, I will be positive and ready to go,” said Doran, who teaches French and Irish at Drogheda Grammar School.

“Myself and Oonagh Purfield Goulding won the East of Ireland Mixed in Castleknock last year after leading from the first round, and I have led a few scratch cups after the first round and won all of them, so maybe I am okay at the front.

“I will try and draw on that experience anyway. It is all a bit of dream, but it is a great experience and I will definitely relish it tomorrow. It will be a great day.”

A former member of Ardee, Doran only joined County Louth to keep his father Liam company, and his local knowledge has paid off.

“I’ve known County Louth all my life, and when my dad retired he joined as a present to himself, so I said I’d go along for the journey,” said Doran, who scrambled superbly for his 71, taking just 27 putts.

Thurles’ Aaron Ryan, Portmarnock’s Darragh Coghlan and former winner Paul O’Hanlon are lurking just two shots behind in joint fifth, with hugely experienced players such as Warrenpoint’s Colm Campbell, Pat Murray and Gary Cullen only three behind on level par.

Four-club wind

“Anyone who makes the cut has a chance right now,” Murray said after a 75. “It was mad out there today – a four-club wind for us in the afternoon. And with the wind set to blow again tomorrow, I’d take two 72s right now and gladly stay in bed.”

Fifty-four players made the cut for the top 42 and ties on four-over or better, with senior international panellists Ronan Mullarney and Robert Brazill making it on the mark.

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